Cigarette caused Elmhurst fire that killed three: FDNY

TimesLedger Newspapers
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A discarded cigarette caused a raging two-alarm blaze that killed three men in Elmhurst Monday night, according to FDNY fire marshals, who reported there were no working smoke alarms in the home.

The fire broke out on the second floor of the brick house, at 42-28 Ithaca St., just after 10:30 p.m. and it took 60 firefighters, from 25 units, more than an hour to bring it under control around midnight, according to the FDNY.

After the blaze was extinguished, three unidentified men were discovered inside by officers from the 110th Precinct, one in the kitchen, the others in a bedroom. The victims were unresponsive and unconscious.

Two of the three were pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital Center after the fire. The third man was taken to Forest Hills Hospital, where he later died, according to the NYPD.

Homeowner Martin Devereaux, 71, and Craig Lott, 53, have been identified, while the third victim has not, according to the NYPD.

The medical examiner will conduct autopsies on the three victims to determine the cause of death. One firefighter was hospitalized but was treated and released, officials said.

“This was a tremendous tragedy, a great loss for the community,” state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said. “This ferocious fire that took the lives of three of our neighbors is another reminder of how vital it is to have a working smoke detector in the house. Unfortunately, there were no working smoke detectors in the house. It is also very important to take part in fire safety initiatives as we can learn lessons that can prevent tragedies like this one from happening.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

priorties from Queens says:
So the residents chose to pay for cigarettes instead of batteries for their smoke detectors. So I guess this should be classified as a murder/suicide?
March 24, 2016, 9:20 am

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